The Milwaukee Bucks are a .500 team on the road this postseason, but some of their biggest wins have come away from home. They clinched each of the first three rounds with a road victory and now face a critical juncture in their pursuit of a NBA championship. While not impossible, the odds of winning a series dramatically increase for a team that loses the first two games of a series.
The Phoenix Suns struck first in the NBA Finals behind 32 points from Chris Paul for a 118-105 payout win on Tuesday. The Bucks lost the opening game of a series for the third straight time despite the presence of Giannis Antetokounmpo, who returned to the floor just games after suffering a nasty knee injury.
Game 2 of the NBA Finals takes place on Thursday, July 8, 2021 and will air live on ABC with tip off at 9 p.m. ET from Phoenix Suns Arena.
Bucks vs Suns Game 2 Odds
Spread: Bucks +5.5 | Suns -5.5 [BET NOW]
Money Line: Bucks +188 | Suns -225 [BET NOW]
Total: 221 [BET NOW]
Bucks So Far
The Bucks are in a familiar situation having lost the opener. They aren’t going to be swayed by the outcome especially after they fell behind both Brooklyn and Atlanta before rallying to win those series. And giving the Bucks more hope was the return of Giannis, who was cleared ahead of Tuesday’s tipoff. Winning is important but not at the expense of a player.
The Bucks didn’t disclose their plans ahead of Game 1 in a show of gamesmanship. Or maybe they just didn’t know if Antetokounmpo was ready. Those concerns were eased early with Giannis touching the ball on the first possession and racing to make a stellar defensive play a few seconds later. He was ready and it showed. Antetokounmpo played over 35 minutes scoring 20 points with 17 rebounds.
Suns So Far
Dance with who brought you is a saying I’ve heard before. I can’t tell you who said it but it was never more appropriate than on Tuesday for the Suns. Behind the trio of Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton and Paul, the Suns reached the NBA Finals for the first time since 1993. They disposed of both LA teams and swept Denver to get here posting a 12-4 record along the way. While all three rarely went off at the same time, one or two of them were always heavily responsible for the team’s success.
Well, they saved the best for the first game of the Finals combining for 81 points in the 118-105 triumph. Paul hit 12 of 19 shots and singlehandedly took over the decisive third quarter scoring 16 of his 32 points as the Suns broke open a close game. Ayton has been a dominant force all postseason and continued by scoring 20 points with 19 rebounds as the Suns beat the Bucks for the third time in as many games this season.
Bucks – What to Expect Game 2
The Bucks are known for their offense after leading the NBA in scoring during the regular season. Things tend to get a little tighter come playoff time and they were able to adapt by playing stiff defense to close out the Hawks and Nets in the previous two rounds. They had a hard time with Paul on Tuesday, though, and surrendered the most points in a game since Brooklyn went for 125 in Game 2 of that series. And while the Bucks seemingly got their mojo back on offense, they again failed to consistently score the basketball.
After playing so well in the previous two games without Giannis, there may have been a letdown by the rest of the club with the two-time MVP getting back on the floor. I expect the Bucks will be more like the Bucks in Game 2 and if they figure out how to defend the pick and roll they should be in the game.
Suns – What to Expect Game 2
Having a few extra days off certainly helped the Suns. A grueling, compacted regular season took a toll on every team with some blaming the schedule for the rash of injuries we’ve seen all year. While Paul had additional time to recover from his shoulder and hand ailments, the club suffered a setback with reserve Dario Saric leaving with an injury. But as long as Paul, Booker and Ayton remain on the floor the Suns should be in good shape confusing Milwaukee’s defense like they’ve done against every opponent this season.
The Suns should also feel confident in their play against the Bucks the past few seasons. They won both regular season meetings each by a point and they’ve won six of the last seven meetings while going 7-1 ATS in the last eight contests. Not many teams have enjoyed that kind of success against the Bucks over the past several seasons and the luck could run out on Thursday.
Bucks vs Suns Game 2 Predictions
Our picks: Milwaukee Bucks +5.5 and UNDER 221
The Bucks are too good to have so many problems beating Phoenix. They’ve been able to fight through injuries and inconsistent play to perform their best when needed. Dropping the first two games on the road isn’t the end of the world but it’s a hill that turns into a mountain.
I do expect Giannis to be more of a force offensively since he made it through the first game back seemingly without a problem. And Milwaukee should be better defensively which is why I’ll back the visitors on Thursday.
Check out all the available Bucks vs Suns Game 5 odds.